Mitchell rising towards the top


The NIU men’s soccer team won the Eastern Illinois Panther Invitational this past weekend with two outstanding team efforts in wins over nationally ranked SMU and a feisty University of Missouri at Kansas City squad.

The two wins have put the Huskies back on the right track.

In order for the team to keep heading in the right direction and not get sidetracked in their quest for a winning season, they will need sophomore forward Nathan Mitchell to keep contributing on the offensive side of the ball.

Mitchell scored both goals in the 2-1 win over 12th ranked SMU and added two assists in the 4-1 win over UMKC, at the Panther Invitational.

For his outstanding performances in these games he was selected as this week’s Mid-Continent Conference player of the week.

“I’m glad to see Nathan earn this honor. I hope it stimulates someone else on the team to try to earn the title also,” head coach Willy Roy said.

Mitchell is the first Huskie to be selected as Mid-Continent Conference player of the week this season.

Garnering off-the-field accolades is no new thing to Mitchell. As a three year letterman at Downers Grove South, he was tabbed as an All-American, All-State, and an All-Conference performer in his senior year.

Mitchell and his identical twin brother led the Downers Grove squad to a sectional berth and a conference championship in his final year of prep soccer.

Although Mitchell has become accustomed to receiving various high distinctions of merit for his play, he doesn’t let it go to his head.

“I’m not really looking to achieve any lofty personal goals. I just want to win the rest of our games so we at least have a shot to get into the NCAA tournament,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell is a key player for the Huskies offensive attack, utilizing his skillful passing abilities and his superiority in the air heading balls.

“The best thing I can do for the team is give good passes to the guys and hopefully when I’m in position to score they’ll return the favor,” Mitchell said.

“For us to be successful, the team needs him to score goals and set up goals,” Roy said.

By just looking at Nathan’s stats and accomplishments up to this point in his career one would be led to believe that Nathan is at the top of his game.

But coach Roy would tend to disagree with that notion.

“We haven’t seen Nathan play up to his potential yet,” Roy said. “If he would take soccer a little more seriously he could make that jump to the next level.”

Mitchell hasn’t been able to play 100 percent of the minutes at his position this season due to an ongoing problem with shin splints.

“The shin splints slow me down and get real painful when I run,” Mitchell said.

This has played a major role in the Huskies early season problems scoring goals.

“We’re trying to make a 90 minute player out of Nathan, right now he is a 75 minute player. We expect that he will become a 90 minute player and that will make us that much better,” Roy said.

The Huskies will attempt to bring home some more hardware this weekend at the Harris Allied Soccer Bowl at Quincy College.

They take on the Spartans of Michigan State friday night at 6 p.m. and assuming they roll over MSU they will then take on the winner of the Quincy and Tulsa game.